Now that you are in charge, the staff is looking to you to make great things happen, and yet as a new manager, you are just trying to remember to turn right for the breakroom and left for the restroom!

There is so much to do.

Even the first staff meeting is overwhelming because you want to share everything with the staff. Use these tips to help you have an incredible first staff meeting that will set the tone for the culture you are building for the department.

All eyes are on you as the new manager. The staff wants your guidance and your experience to help lead them to new success, and senior management needs you to drive the mission of the organization at the boots on the ground level.

Being a new people leader can be a balancing act with great rewards. The first opportunity to set the right tone is during the first staff meeting. How do you share all the information during this meeting without making it overwhelming? You don’t.

Instead, follow these three simple tips to make your first staff meeting amazing.

“You have a meeting to make a decision, not to decide on the question.”

Bill Gates

TIP #1: PURPOSE

What is the purpose of the meeting?

Every meeting should have a clearly articulated purpose; without a purpose, the meeting is a waste of valuable time. This is your first chance to build the culture you want to establish for the team and while it might be tempting to cover all the lofty goals that you proposed to get the new role, the first step is to allow your team to get to know you.

Establish time to share who you are, what is important to you, and why you are looking forward to working with this group to achieve great things. Take the time to find out what the team feels is the most pressing concern and why. Keep the focus of the meeting to the top one or two items and know that there is plenty of time to lay out your plan in the future.

For the first meeting, make the team the priority.

TIP #2: AGENDA

When you applied for this role, did you walk into the interview prepared with data, examples of successful implementation you lead, and stories to explain how you support team members for growth, or did you wing it?

Chances are you prepared, and you prepared a lot! It shows that’s the reason you were given the role. Now, prepare for your first meeting with the same intensity.

After you have fine-tuned the purpose of the initial staff meeting, create an agenda to keep the topic on point.

Meetings are an important part of the business world and because so many people feel it’s okay to “wing it”, meetings get a bad reputation of being time-wasters. Don’t let your meetings have this reputation – be intentional with your time.

Determine how much time should be spent discussing the purpose of the meeting – your introduction to the team. By doing this activity, if you begin to get nervous during the meeting you can rely on the agenda to keep you on task, within time, and create a culture of appreciating your team members’ valuable time as well.

That’s a win, win, win for all!

There are several agenda templates available online for you to create one that will meet your needs.

TIP #3: FOLLOW UP

During the meeting, ask someone to be the note-taker so that you can focus on the conversation and not need to multitask. The key to note-taking is to ensure any outstanding topics are followed up on.

For example, if part of your agenda includes asking for the top priority of the team and you need to follow up on resources to help make the top priority an easier process, make sure you provide feedback to the team on what you discovered.

This follow up can take several forms:

1) email to the team with updates regarding topics discussed during the meeting and what you have discovered; or

2) if not urgent, it might be a line item of “old business” on the agenda during the next meeting that can be reviewed.

The important aspect here is to ensure that you are building credibility by following up on items that you said you would investigate and reporting back to the team regarding the results of your inquiry.

Team members appreciate leaders who do what they say and say what they do.

“If you aren’t meeting regularly with your team, you don’t have a team. What you really have is a collection of boxes on an org chart.”

Barbara Burke

A bonus tip – these three steps should be used for each meeting you have, not just for the first team meeting.

By getting into the habit of having a concise purpose for the meeting, an agenda that provides a guideline for the team, and finally following up on action items from the meeting you will build the culture that you want with the team and gain credibility through the process.

Partnering with a certified leadership coach can help you build self-awareness, develop your leadership capabilities and maximize team performance.

Now, go crush your first team meeting!

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Laura McFadden

Since 2018 I have been building my practice as a Leadership Coach. I have a desire to help managers become the leader everyone wants to work for. I want to focus on serving the next generation of managers so that many of them can achieve higher levels of success without the obstacles that I encountered.

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